While in most professions a promotion is considered a great thing, salespeople are often less enthusiastic about it. A lot of them feel that after being a salesperson and enjoying the independence and high rewards it entails, it will be hard to make the transition and become sales leaders. They find it challenging to put their faith, future and compensation in the hands of other people- their sales team.
While there are many successful sales people who reject the opportunity to be promoted, some decide to take the leap into leadership, but making the switch is not necessarily seamless. Many junior sales managers find it difficult to let go and give their team the autonomy they need; instead they often micro-manage and get too involved in the day-to-day work.
It is pretty safe to say that, at least in the beginning, sales manager focus on selling more than they doon leading. Here are few tips on how to avoid that:
Don’t be a third wheel: As the sales manager, your expertise, knowledge, and connections might be needed to get the deal going. In the beginning of the sales cycle, your involvement may be crucial and can make or break a deal, however you must also know how and when making an exit. Make sure that the salesperson is the one moving the deal forward, dealing with the client’s issues and working on resolving them. If your help is needed, by all means, do whatever you can to help, but avoid stepping on your salesperson’s toes. The last thing you want is to be responsible for the nits and grits of every deal. In addition, getting too involved may lead to your team feeling overpowered and out shined by you.
Be a Know it all: Literally, know everything there is to know about the client, the deal and what issues are going to be addressed in the sales call or meeting you will be attending with one of your team members. Decide ahead of time if you are attending the meeting for the purpose coaching or selling; if you are coaching allow the sales person to take the lead and observe. If you are selling, discuss with the sales rep who will be leading the meeting, which topics and questions you will be covering and which will be covered by him.
Leave the deal open: Leave the deal open for your team to close and know that your support and experience should be utilized to help your team members in the first stages of the sales cycle. Use your skills to help your sales team better assess the client’s needs and tailor the right solution for him because by the time the deal is ready to close your ability to make a difference will be insignificant.
Top salespeople often struggle with making the adjustments needed to become sales leaders. While they may miss some parts of their old role, they must remember that as leaders, their input, support, and experience have the power to not only benefit themselves, but also their team and their company.